Finally got around to doing a taste test of the three Crown Royals that I picked up on the cruise back in December. Connie's brother and his wife were in town, so it seemed a good opportunity to do a sampling with him and bounce opinions off each other. Neither of us is really that knowledgable in any way about liquor, aside from the casual "I know what I like" level of knowledge, so it seemed kind of perfect.
We had all three of them straight up, about a quarter of a shot glass at a time. Started off with the original Crown Royal as a baseline. Good, a little bit of harshness, but drinkable straight up.
After that, we tried the Crown Royal Black. The Black is a slightly higher alcohol content and a deeper colour, but seemed smoother than the regular Crown. We both agreed the flavour profile was different (don't ask me how they're different) than regular Crown. Easier to drink straight up than the regular Crown despite the higher alcohol content.
The Crown Royal Reserve was next. Same colour and alcohol content as regular Crown. Much smoother than regular Crown, and even Crown Black. Taste-wise, I thought it was pretty close to regular Crown, but without the bite or harshness. I could definitely see myself drinking this straight up or over ice without a mixer. You just don't need it with the Reserve.
All three of them are good, and have that characteristic Crown Royal flavour. They're also all very different from each other. After comparing with Black and Reserve, I would probably have regular Crown in a mix (Crown and Coke is my usual). The mixer helps cut out the slight harshness of the Crown, although it's certainly drinkable straight up. Black I could drink either way, straight up or in a mixed drink. Reserve is good all by itself and while it would make a very good mixed drink I kind of think "well, why would you?"
Now, I wonder if I could find a bottle of Crown Royal XR around here... Not that I really need it but now that I've compared these three, it would be interesting to see how XR is different.
Unless a Hooligan invasion occurs, these three bottles will probably last me several years.